The rainy season is finally over to encounter a hazardous heat wave.
It has been over 35C (95F) with humidity over 80 even 90 percent, a cruel weather continuing for at least a week or so and yet to continue until the middle of August so tourist contemplating to visit Tokyo should be well prepared to ‘sweat like mad’ – visit the natural Tokyo Sauna Habitat, guaranteed to loose a couple of unwanted pounds. (Think positive!!!) These thunderhead clouds are signs of very hot weather.
Even our little dog sleeps upside down to cool herself down.
Well getting back into the main topic….
After the rainy season comes Japanese plum making. The Japanese plum is called ‘umeboshi’, an authentic pickle which most every household stores in their refrigerator. Since the ‘umeboshi’ is pickled with ‘red shiso leaves’; this is the season to see ‘red shiso leaves’ which I was lucky to purchase a natural grown stem (no use of pesticide) from a farm.
The shiso leaves can be used in so many ways in daily cooking. The acidity maintains the food from fermenting and is a herbal medicine to keep the blood vessels clean.
Often used for –
Onigiri (Rice balls) – wrapping the rice balls with the red shiso leaves
Vegetable Pickles – wrapping the vegetables with the red shiso leaves
Typical toppings – for example tofu, vegetable salads, cooked sardines, etc.
Pickled Red Shiso Leaves
- Red Shiso Leaves
- 20% of salt
- White Vinegar with 5% of Salt
- Remove the shiso leaves from the stem and weigh the volume to determine the amount of salt.
- Wash the shiso leaves and drain lightly.
- Spread the shiso leaves in a container, stacking each leave one by one, sprinkling salt as you work through the layers, ending your last layer with salt.
- Add enough water to cover the shiso leaves. The salt with water will help the water to ooze out from the shiso leaves.
- Stack a lightly heavy stone – I used a clean gardening brick; refrigerate for approx. 2 days.
- After 2 days, take the layer of shiso out from the container and drain the water. Taste it and if you feel it is too salty, gently pour running water over the shiso leaves, making sure that the water will not float and destroy the layers. This is to wash out the unwanted salt out, to taste.
- Drain the water out of the shiso layer once again, pressing it down with you palm and place it back into the container.
- Make enough vinegar with 5% of salt to cover the shiso leaves.
- Leave it in the refrigerator soaked in the vinegar for about 1 day (without the heavy stone/brick).
- The shiso leaf pickles preserves well in the refrigerator.
Red Shiso Leaves Pickle Recipe |赤紫蘇の葉の塩漬け
- 酢・・・・・・・・・・・赤シソがかぶる位 （酢に5%の塩を入れる）